The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Sao Tome and Principe resigned this Thursday, denouncing “acts of treasonand condemning the “horrible events” that led to the death of four detainees after an attack on the military headquarters.
“I have just handed over to His Excellency the President of the Republic and Supreme Commander [das Forças Armadas] my resignation,” Brigadier Olinto Paquete announced this Thursday at a press conference.
Citing the resignation he sent to Carlos Vila Nova, the official stated that, before the assault on the military barracks by “a small group of individuals dressed as civilians, with the help of soldiers from the army,” which occurred last Friday, the reaction of the Armed forces “I was ready, but it took a while.”
“Our goal was to preserve life, which was achieved during the operation. Later, horrifying and inexplicable events compromised all the good that had been done.”advanced.
“It seems to me that it was an order, since he followed a carefully laid plan, culminating in the publication of images. [quarta-feira]at 18:00 [locais, a mesma hora em Lisboa]of things that I did not know because they informed me with false information”, he said.
The brigadier acknowledged having served “false information to the nation” on the death of the four detainees, which he had previously justified with injuries caused by an explosion, in the case of the three assailants, and, in the case of the alleged mastermind of the attack, Arlécio Costa -arrested after the attack by the military- for having “jumped out of the vehicle”.
“I apologize. […] My education and training do not allow me to accept such atrocities and acts of treason that damage the homeland.”He also said, justifying his resignation, which took place a few hours after a meeting called by the head of state with the highest command of the army, and with the Prime Minister, Patrice Trovoada, and the Minister of Defense and Internal Order. Jorge Amado.
This Wednesday, videos were broadcast on social networks showing a detainee -who would later die- lying on the ground, bloody and with his hands tied behind his back, being hit by a soldier with a stick, while several other servicemen look on. Other images show the detainees lying down or kneeling in the courtyard of the barracks, with their hands tied and with injuries.
The same day of the attack and in the following days they were widely disseminated. images of men with marks of aggressionbloodied and with his hands tied behind his back, he is still alive, and already in the morgue.
This Thursday morning, the government of São Tomé announced that it had filed a complaint with the Public Ministry to investigate the “violence and inhuman treatment” of military personnel against those detained after the attack on the headquarters of the Armed Forces.
The robbery was classified by the authorities of Sao Tome as “an attempted coup” and condemned by the international community.
In the first hours after the attack, the military also detained the former president of the National Assembly Delfim Neves at his home, presumably identified by the attackers as another ringleader of the robbery.
Delfim Neves was released this Monday, after appearing before the criminal investigation judge, with periodic presentation to the authorities and term of identity and residence, denying any connection with this fact, which he described as “a setup” to incriminate him.
Portugal sent, at the request of São Tomé, a team of investigators and experts from the Judicial Police and a doctor who is an expert in forensic pathology, who will collaborate with the São Tomé judicial authorities in the investigations.